Attractions in County Durham
For your holidays or vacations this is 'The Great Outdoors' where you can discover the beauty and wildlife of the Teesdale countryside by walking along miles of public footpaths, cycling along quiet country lanes or forest tracks or pony trekking through forest and over heather moors.
Teesdale is ideal for fishing on the River Tees and on peaceful reservoirs. There are also opportunities for sailing and canoeing. There is a wide range of activities organised at local outdoor adventure centres.
Teesdale, with its wooded valleys and characteristic white-washed farm buildings has long inspired artists, including J.S. Cotman and J.M.W. Turner and supports some of Britain's rarest plants. This includes the protected Spring Gentian, a very rare flower - you can see it flowering in Upper Teesdale.
You will also find High Force in Upper Teesdale where the River Tees thunders 70ft over the largest waterfall in England. High Force can be reached from Middleton in Teesdale, which has the style and dignity of a small town and is proud of its reputation as capital of Upper Teesdale. From the late 18th century, this was the centre of the district's lead mining industry. Nearby, a 10 minute walk along a tree lined footpath leads to the 70ft high waterfall of High Force.
Take a visit to historic Barnard Castle, full of character with its cobbled Market Place, attractive shops and associations with Charles Dickens. Here you will find the Josephine and John Bowes Museum, a fabulous French style treasure house of European paintings and decorative arts. The town is named after its 12th Century castle, now a craggy ruin. In contrast, nearby Raby still stands as one of England's finest medieval castles.
Lying between the Yorkshire Dales and Northumberland National Park, the Durham Dales are also very close by and are part of the North Pennines, one of England's largest official Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Dales, which make up over a third of the County, offer some of the country's finest scenery - a blend of rugged upland, impressive waterfalls, gentle river valleys, wildflower meadows and drystone walls. This is the home of Hannah Hauxwell whose isolated life on a dalehead farm was documented on television and earned her celebrity status.
Weardale was once the hunting ground of Durham's Prince Bishops. Today, quiet moorland roads open up panoramic Pennine views. In the 19th Century, the lonely hills buzzed with activity, for the North Pennines was at the very heart of the world's lead mining industry. Today that industry has long since disappeared but Killhope Lead Mining Centre, with its giant working waterwheel and underground visitor mine, enables visitors to experience something of the life and work of the Victorian lead miner.
Walking and Cycling
The well known Pennine Way and new Teesdale Way long distance footpaths pass through the area and there are many waymarked routes for shorter walks, suitable for people of all ages. There are organised tours, trails and rambles to help you get the most out of your visit if you don't want to go it alone.
Hamsterley Forest covers 2000 hectares on the edge of Teesdale and Weardale and provides many opportunities for outdoor activities with forest walks, nature trails, orienteering courses and mountain bike routes. There are many picnic sites and also a visitor centre and shop. A wide range of events are organised through the year.
Bowlees, located in Upper Teesdale, 3 miles beyond Middleton-in-Teesdale is an ideal spot for family picnics and short walks to the waterfalls at Gibsons Cave and Low Force. There is also a Visitor Centre run by the Durham Wildlife Trust which explains the landscape, farming and wildlife of the area. There are craft demonstrations in summer.
Grassholme Reservoir is operated by Northumbrian Water. Rainbow trout (stocked), brown trout (wild). Tickets (self-service) from Visitor Centre. Special facilities for disabled anglers. Enquiries: 0191383 2222.
What fishermen have to say about Grassholme Reservoir:-
"The big water in the Teesdale three is Grassholme Reservior, Lying in Lundale amidst typical scenery of the Pennine Dales, and at one hundred and forty acres it can take some covering. Traditional patterns and lures both take fish at this water during the summer months, mornings and evenings tend to fish better. Knowing where the best spots are is an advantage. Most local anglers will fish the shallow outlets and the areas near to the dam wall, as these consistently produce the best returns. With Grassholme costing the same as Hury, the only choice you have to make is the surrounding you would like to fish in, as both waters are value for money. There is a Visitor Centre at Grassholme, where you can pick up information on all the Teesdale waters. You will find the local anglers friendly and helpful, and always willing to give you advice. If you have never fished in Teesdale before it's well worth a visit; three good waters to choose from, all offering exceptional sport for the game angler, all at a reasonable price, I would recommend it to anyone".
RIVER TEES, Middleton in Teesdale Approximately 8 miles of the north (left) bank from Cauldron Snout downstream to Middleton in Teesdale. Brown trout. Day tickets available. Contact: Raby Estates Office, Market Place, Middleton in Teesdale, County Durham DLl2 0QH. Tel: 01833 640209, or The High Force Hotel, Forest in Teesdale, County Durham DL12 0XH. Tel: 01833 622222 or 622264, or Raine & Son, 25 Market Place, Middleton in Teesdale, County Durham DLl2 0QA. Tel: 01833 640406.
RIVER TEES, Middleton in Teesdale Approximately 7 miles of the river banks from Cronkley Bridge downstream through Middleton in Teesdale to Lune Confluence. Brown trout. Day tickets available. Canoeing permits also available - £3 per person per day. Contact: J. Raine & Son, 25 Market Place Middleton in Teesdale, County Durham DLl2 0QA Tel: 01833 640406, or R T Oliver, 40 Horse Market, Barnard Castle, County Durham DL12 8NA. Tel: 01833 631118.
RIVER TEES, Barnard Castle south bank downstream from stone bridge to Thorngate footbridge. Free fishing - rod licence only required. (NB Taking of salmon prohibited).
RIVER TEES, Barnard Castle Thorngate Mill stretch (north bank). For day tickets contact: R T Oliver, 40 Horse Market, Barnard Castle, County Durham DLI2 8NA. Tel:01833 631118.
Dingy and Windsurfing Grassholme Reservoir, Lunedale. Managed by Teesdale Sailing Club Ltd. Visitors welcome all day Sunday and occasionally Saturday. (Most classes of dinghy and sailboarding accepted, but no power boats). Boats for hire. Further details from Richard Hewitt, Tel: 0191 3867109, or Barbara Gauld, Tel: 01325 260289.
River Tees downstream from High Force. Permits for this section of the river are available on behalf of the Raby Estate £3 per person, per day. Contact: J Raine & Son, 25 Market Place, Middleton in Teesdale, County Durham DL12 0QA. Tel: 01833 640406, or The High Force Hotel, Forest in Teesdale, County Durham DL12 0XH Tel: 01833 622222.
Teesdale Canoe Club For further details contact Mr. A. Hearn, Kingsway Adventure Centre, Alston Road, Middleton in Teesdale, County Durham DL12 0UU. Tel: 01833 640881.